Book Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams

30 July 2011

I *finally* finished this book on Wednesday! I was literally jumping up and down when I had completed the last page (not something I normally do when I finish a book). Sound strange? It probably won't when I say that I've had all summer to read this book, and I just finished it now. Yes. That girl blushing profusely over there? That's me. See, I love reading books... when they're books that I enjoy. Required reading? Not so much. That's why it took me so long to finish WD. But, 'tis finished now, which means I get the chance to sort out what I liked and disliked about the book.

Watership Down
By Richard Adams
*Summary taken from the back of the book

Watership Down is a remarkable tale of exile and survival, of heroism and leadership...the epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city, and venture forth against all odds on a quest for a new home, a sturdier future. 

My Thoughts: Watership Down. What can I say about Watership Down? I didn't hate it--but I didn't particularly love it, either. A good friend of mine was discussing this book with me, and we agreed that one of the reasons behind our rather neutral feelings about the tale is because it's so long. Now, don't get me wrong, I love long books, especially when the characters/story are brilliant. When I read that type of book, I'm sad when it ends. But WD was very rambling and unorganized. It almost seemed as if the author was just writing for the sake of writing until he got a good idea; the plot is inconsistent up to a certain point--then everything is focused on overcoming the evil and fighting the battle. 

Pros: Courage. Courage plays a very large part in this story. The rabbits are extremely brave, I must say. Several of them, especially Bigwig (one of the rabbits), think nothing of putting themselves in dangerous situations for the sake of others. I see that as a very selfless aspect of their character, and one to be praised. Of course, Bigwig is alone in the fact that he enjoys a good fight--all the others simply do it because they have no other choice.

Cons: One thing that never failed to rub me the wrong way in this book was the fact that man was portrayed as never being content until he has destroyed the earth and all its inhabitants. Now, we as Christians know that Adam was commanded by the LORD to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28, KJV). Man is above the animals; in WD, the rabbits looked upon man as a vile monster and destructive beast. Now, I know this story is told from the perspective of the rabbits, and 'tis only natural that their assumed viewpoint should be expressed. However, are rabbits going to be reading this book? No. And when a human reads that man will not be satisfied until he has demolished the earth and all the animals, s/he may not realize it, but that perspective starts to seep into his or her beliefs.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 13+, due to its exceeding length. 

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but [being snared by the shining wire]; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah (the rabbit version of Robin Hood, also given magical qualities), for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy's warren and paying his price?" ~Watership Down, chapter 17

Happy Birthday, Mother Dear!

29 July 2011

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." ~Proverbs 31:10~

Momma, since today is your birthday, I am dedicating this post you and how much you mean to our family. 

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family..." ~Proverbs 31:13-15~ 

Even in this bad economy when money is tight, Momma continues to be resourceful. She clips coupons and buys food in bulk when it is buy-one-get-one-free, she has learned to make homemade laundry detergent and toilet bowel cleaner, she preserves our homegrown tomatoes and peppers and makes (delicious) homemade salsa with them... the list is endless. It fills me with such love to think of all that she does for our family without asking for any acknowledgement of her labor.

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet." ~Proverbs 31:20-21~

Momma is the most generous person I know. She would give the coat off her back to someone in need. Her time is constantly devoted to others and not herself. Momma gives and lends many of her belongings to those in need, asking for nothing in return. She always opens her heart to those who need love. I wish I could be as ungrudging as she. 

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." ~Proverbs 31:25-26~ 

She is a well of spiritual maturity, overflowing with wisdom and knowledge, and I know I can always turn to her when I have questions or troubles. Momma comforts me when I am weak and always guides me in my Christian walk. Her faith is apparent not only to her family; many who have known her for but an hour can see His love shining out of her. Momma's merry smile and cheerful spirit constantly commend her to others, and many women seek her out when they have a question about homeschooling.

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." ~Proverbs 31:29~

We love you so much, Momma! Happy birthday!!

P.S. It also happens to be Harrison Kraft's birthday today! Head over to Mrs. Kraft's blog to wish him a wonderful day. :)

Sunday Blessings

24 July 2011

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

~"Be Thou My Vision" by Dallan Forgaill, translated by Mary E. Byrne, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull~

Have a blessed and restful Sabbath day, ladies!

“When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal Myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.”
~Numbers 12:6~

Book Review: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

22 July 2011

Before we go any further, I would like to make something very clear: I am not particularly fond of mysteries. So, I will attempt to make this review as unbiased as possible, but it will be difficult. Why do I dislike mysteries, you ask? In short, most or all of the characters have very little that is admirable in their personality and murders, suicides, and all manner of killings are the norm (at least in the Agatha Christie books). Most of the books I love I enjoy reading because of the characters, then because of the plot. If the characters are not very godly in their behavior, I tend to dislike the book. I don't think there is anything wrong with mysteries--they're just not my cup of tea. 

Death on the Nile
By Agatha Christie
*Summary taken from the back of the book

Young, rich, and beautiful Linnet Ridgeway has almost everything. What she doesn't have, she takes. For instance, her best friend Jackie's man. When Linnet and her new beau embark on their honeymoon cruise along the Nile, nothing can keep Jackie from their shadows. And no one--not even detective Hercule Poirot--can prevent a crime of passion. But faced with the suspect's airtight alibi, can he even prove who did it?

I've got to hand it to Agatha Christie--she sure knows how to write a book. And she also knows how to draw the reader into her haunting tales. Bree loved this book and raved about it; so much, in fact, that she took The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder of Roger Ackroid (other mysteries by Agatha Christie) out of our library to read and loved them, too. Momma is the same way. Therefore, there are certainly those who enjoy mysteries (and guess the end--something I have never been able to do)... I'm just not one of them. :P

I know that in mysteries, the point of the book is not to admire the characters--the point is to figure out who commited the murder/stole the jewelry/etc. Be that as it may, it still rubbed me the wrong way when I couldn't find one character in the book to like (except maybe Hercule Poirot). You have a woman who writes inappropriate adult novels and her jealous and sour daughter, a moody son and his kind (but perhaps a bit too indulgent) mother, a wealthy heiress who steals her best friend's beau and convinces him to marry her, the vengeful friend who wreaks havok upon the young couple while they are on their honeymoon, and a score of others. Between the fact that the characters are not very estimable AND the bewhildering number of people in the story (keeping the characters straight was very preoccupying for me, perhaps because I don't read Agatha Christie mysteries much), I couldn't quite love the book as I do others. But that's just my two cents on the matter.

(So much for giving an unbiased review, eh? :))

I greatly appreciated how DOTN was a very fast read, despite the fact that it was 420 pages. I read it in less than a week. And it certainly kept me interested--a page-turner for sure. But it was a one-time read, a.k.a. a book that seems suddenly uniteresting and not worth your time when you try to read it a second time. Mysteries are like that. All the power and drama is based off of discovering the culprit. Once the guilty party is identified, the book loses its sparkle... which then prompts Bree and those like her to go out and get more mysteries to read. :)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 13+

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"Motives for murder are sometimes very trivial, madame." ~Death on the Nile, Part 2: Chapter 6

My Bucket List

19 July 2011

I've been seeing so many bucket lists pop up in my Dashboard lately that I finally decided to type up one myself. Keep in mind that I am a romantic soul and so many of these aspirations may sound more poetical than logical. You have been forewarned. :)

Elizabeth Rose's Bucket List (in no particular order), as of 17 July 2011:

~See one (or more :)) of my literary endeavors published and (Lord willing) sell well. 

~Master Spanish, French, German, and Italian and tour Europe afterwards, speaking each nation's respective language to the best of my ability.

~Purchase a Nikon D3000. 

~Visit the British Isles, using my then-improved British, Scottish, and Irish accents, respectively.

~When in Great Britain, take care to stop by Eastbourne, the hometown of Miss Violet Bradshaw.

~Marry a wonderful man of God and become a mama to many precious children. 

~Picnic in a field of wildflowers (with bug spray :P). 

~Successfully master all my splits. 

~Meet two of my dear blogging friends, Brianna and Jo, in person, along with several other young ladies I am blessed to know in "blogworld".

~Bring a person to Christ. 

~Watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice all the way through with my sisters one night.

~Learn different, more complicated styles of ECD (English country dancing) and attend more ECD balls. 

~Make this dress. 

~Go horseback riding on the beach. 

~Learn to play the piano. 

~Grow my hair down to my waist (only a few more inches to go!).

~Visit Prince Edward Island (sensing a theme here? :)). 

What's on your bucket list? I'd love to hear!

From the Pen of a Writer, Part 3: The Worst Ailment Known to Writers Everywhere

15 July 2011

Welcome to the third and final part of From the Pen of a Writer! This post deals with that horrid illness known as writer's block... and more importantly, how to remedy it. 
1. Nothing Comes From Nothing (for short-term writer's block)
I have often heard it said that when you are having trouble writing you should just "push through it" and scribble down anything; after all, you can always go back and edit it later, right? Wrong. Why would you waste your time writing something that you are only going to delete later? If you know you are not capable of writing anything of value at the moment, don't try to force it. Get up and take a walk; bake some chocolate chip cookies and lick the spoon; help your mother by folding some laundry or sweeping the kitchen floor. When you come back to your writing a few hours later, you'll have a lot of inspiration because you've cleared your head and taken a small break.
2. Paper and Pens Are Always Handy (for long-term writer's block)
If your problem with writers block is not going away and you've been dealing with it for several days (or weeks) now, a good way to get your ideas flowing is to write them down on paper. Get out your colorful pens and scribble down every single idea that comes to your head. It may sound like I am completely contradicting everything that I said in #1, but that is not the case. If possible, you want to avoid wasting your time writing something worthless. However, if you've been struggling with a lack of inspirations for a long time and you know more time away from writing is not going to help, there is nothing else to do but sit down and write. Get out your spiral-bound notebook and write a bullet-point list containing everything you like, i.e. time periods, themes, genres, places, character personalites, even as specific as eye and hair color. Then, when you have a good list, you can eliminate all ideas that are so-so and stick with the ones you absolutely love. If you plan on writing historical fiction, research can also help get your ideas flowing. It's all about being inspired by something that you love. Otherwise, writing will be an unpleasant chore.
3. "Okay, so I have my ideas... now what?" 
Now go back and re-read the section in Part 1 titled "Outlining." This should help you get a good idea of what steps to take when trying to form your unorganized spurts of inspiration.

Thank you for taking the time to read my series on writing. If you only take away one thing from this series, I hope it is that writing is an ongoing process and nobody is perfect. Everybody struggles with dialogue, gets a case of writer's block, or is tempted to delete their book altogether. That's all right. What matters is that you don't stop writing (for a long period of time, that is--getting up and making yourself a cup of tea is certainly permissable :)). 

Seeking Prayer for Emily

13 July 2011

Dear friends, I am posting now to request that you pray for Emily today. She is a beautiful sixteen year old girl, and she has leukemia. Throughout the many trials she has had to go through these past two years ever since she was diagnosed in 2010, Emily never fails to seek comfort in His love and protection, despite the uncertain future. In her own words, " was only [when I was diagnosed] that I realized how important my faith is to me." 

And now, He has opened an opportunity so that she may come to the U.S. to be treated. It is our fervent prayer that these treatments may be the end of Emily's disease, and a kindly friend (known in blogworld as "Mr. Money") has generously agreed to donate the required funds and airfare costs. This is truly something to be thankful for and to pray over. Emily's friends and family have organized a prayer vigil for her, which will take place at 8 o' clock P.M. UK time (that's 2 o' clock P.M. CDT). I know it would mean a great deal to Emily if we all kept her in our prayers today. As it says in Matthew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

Thank you. 

I was interviewed over at Scraps!

10 July 2011

One of my very dear blogging friends, Jo, featured me on her blog, Scraps From My Workbasket, today. Click here to read the interview and consider following Jo's blog as well--I'm sure you'll enjoy her lovely posts. :)

Have a blessed Sabbath evening, friends!

The Saturday Morning Daybook :: 9 July 2011

09 July 2011

Hosted by Miss Jo March at Scraps From My Workbasket. :)

Date... 9 July 2011.
Starting time... 3:01 P.M. (yes, I know that it's not technically the morning... :))
Mood... Happy.
Outside my window... "Nothin' but blue skies do I see!"  
I'm thinking... about how I should probably go and clean the bathroom in a minute.
I'm currently reading... Watership Down... still. :P I am 150 pages into it, and it's getting a bit more interesting. We are also listening to The Saturdays on audiobook as a family, which I am enjoying quite a lot. I already love it. ♥
I'm listening to... Lydia, Emilia, and Ethan play Monopoly in the kitchen. 
I'm wearing... My layered olive green skirt and the same white shirt I wore here. A comfortable and light outfit, which is a necessity in our Southern humidity, eh, Jo? :)
I'm looking forward to... going swimming in our neighborhood's pool tonight! 
I'm hoping... the sunshine stays--it's been really rainy lately. 
Yesterday, I... re-read Anne of Ingleside and remembered again why I love it. Nan's "bargains" with God, Rilla's utter humiliation over carrying a cake in public, dear Susan and her sayings ("Susan is at the helm!"; "Mrs. Dr. dear"; "...and that you may tie to!")... If you have never read it before, you simply do not know what you are missing. 
I'm hungry for... yogurt, or maybe some crackers and peanut butter. 
The song stuck inside my head is... "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof.
I love... chatting with Momma. 
I loathe... cleaning bathrooms. :P
This week, my goal is... to get back into the habit of stretching every night before bed.
Did I meet last week's goal?... I didn't do the Daybook last week, but I did meet my goal from two weeks ago. 
Ending time... 3:19 P.M. 

P.S. Click here to enter Unsinkable's June - July giveaway. You only have until July 12th to enter, so don't delay!

A Thought for the Day: The Giver of Our Liberty

05 July 2011

"Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?
" ~Thomas Jefferson

A thought to ponder this Tuesday evening.

'Tis My Homeland, 'Tis My Heart

04 July 2011

{via Google Images}

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

~"My Country 'Tis of Thee" by Samuel Francis Smith~

Happy Independence Day, ladies!! Any special plans for today? Do tell! :)
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